Our Approach to COVID-19

ARCC is one of very few organizations that ran multiple programs in the summer and fall of 2020 and throughout 2021 & 2022. The experiences gained operating programs in a COVID-19 environment have been invaluable as we continue operating. We are proud of the extremely high success rate we’ve had on all our programs operating during these challenging times. 

We do not make the decision to operate in the COVID-19 environment lightly. We only run programs we are confident we can operate within strict COVID-19 protocols protecting our students, instructors, and other populations. In preparation for these programs, we consulted with experts, added multiple testing and vaccination requirements, adjusted itineraries, changed medical practices, considered multiple infection scenarios, and imposed rigid pre-trip restrictions on our students and their families to avoid COVID-19 infection prior to and during the program.

To date, ARCC has conducted thousands of COVID-19 tests on our students and instructors in the field. 

Despite the restrictions and programmatic changes, there is a sense amongst the students that they are finally getting their lives back as they live and socialize with their peers. Most gratifying is again hearing ARCC students laughing, playing, working, and learning together, and not through a screen or monitor.

We continually evaluate and make changes as necessary to both our COVID-19 protocols as well as to the program itineraries as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our areas of operation. Situations sometimes change hourly and our office and instructor teams quickly react to these changes as necessary. We have found that “flexibility” is our keyword. We’ve proven we can operate effectively in this environment as long as all constituents — students, parents, instructors and office staff — understand there may be changes to an itinerary and are flexible with adjustments to the program and protocols.

As you might imagine, we have been continuously monitoring the ongoing situation very closely. We have longtime partners on the ground around the world and are getting updates from them almost on a daily basis.

In addition to closely monitoring state and county restrictions in our areas of operation, ARCC also receives updates from the State Department travel program, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as dozens of news sources. We feel we have a good grasp on the circumstances in the areas in which we operate.

ARCC’s COVID-19 protocols have been evolving since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of our current COVID-19 prevention protocols include:

  • ARCC does not currently require any vaccinations other than those mandated by host countries or partners. ARCC students and instructors will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate in an ARCC program for which the host country or partner has a specific mandate. Additional details will be provided by your program director as to the specifics of any required vaccination. Unfortunately, no medical exemption will be given in these instances for the health and safety of our partners and communities with which we interact.

    ARCC does strongly recommend that all participants receive routine and travel-specific vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, according to current CDC recommendations. Please visit the CDC website for more information.

For all ARCC international destinations we have a local partner, on the ground, in that country. Our partners are invaluable resources for us. They provide local knowledge, current information, logistics assistance, and access to resources normally not available to outsiders. They are well connected in their communities and act as an important safety net if an emergency occurs.
Yes. We can easily make changes to any itinerary. Frankly, changes in itineraries as we adjust to regional requirements are to be expected in this environment. We plan for this and embed flexibility into our programming. ARCC has been dealing with “unusual” situations for almost 40 years. We have dealt with earthquakes, volcanoes, coups, border closures, civil unrest, and many other unpredictable events. Our infrastructure allows us to quickly make changes to an itinerary and we have the global resources to effortlessly make these adjustments.
If ARCC cancels a program prior to the start date due to COVID-19 factors, you will have 3 options available to you:
  • Join an alternate program within the same season pending availability.
  • Roll your enrollment over to a future ARCC program.
  • Receive a full refund of any payments made.
If you still have additional questions, please give us a call at 415-332-5075. Please know that we look at everything we do and everywhere we travel through the lens of student safety and we would be happy to share our thoughts with you.